The Swamp. Hard Stuff.

I live in a swamp. OK. Not in it. Eww.

To be accurate, I should say we have relocated to an upper floor duplex in Mosquito-ville. “The Swamp” is actually a wetlands across the street.

swamp duck

Once we lived on a high hill. There we enjoyed fresh air, auditory privacy, and even a peek-aboo view of Seattle and Mt. Rainier.

Once we were young, and had better health. Once…once upon a time. You get it. We didn’t know how good we had it! We never do, until it’s gone, do we?

But for right now we live here, just a few steps from the Swamp. We are below sea level, breathing in the sometimes humid, sometimes stagnant, moldy, spore-rich air that comes with swamp living.

I’m using The Swamp as sort of a metaphor for the hard stuff we all run into, or run away from, or are stuck in the muck of, in our lives.

swamp obstructions

Hard Stuff. You know what I mean. We can’t escape the planet without our share of it.

But like me, I’m thinking that you have figured out that we can find some pretty cool stuff in the Hard Stuff. Like growth. And faith. And a deeper relationship with Him.

And then, there is always perspective–ones’ view of the matter.

Close up of Swamp scum

You can see by these photos that the swamp can be fairly beautiful, as well as just plain dismal. It depends.

Is the 7-month-long rainy season upon us? Well, then, yeah, it can be pretty bleak.

But wait! Is it summer? Those lovely days of summer…on pretty days, here at the Swamp, it’s so pretty you can’t keep people away. The trails around here get positivity crowded. Folks walk their children, their dogs, and sometimes their llamas. Once I saw a man walking his goat. I kid you not.

The Swamp

Changes our perception so very much, circumstances. Same swamp. Different perspective. Point of view is so powerful.

In easy days, in fresh air days, when instead of breathing swamp air, we take a drive, and leave the swamp, we breathe in the sea air, and behold the beauty of the Puget Sound. There I just stop. I stare. I stand in full sun, gulping in fresh salt-air while great, breaking waves pound against the shore.

At the sea, I’m refreshed. There, the rotting vegetation and stinky mildew are but a memory. And God gives us those breaks, doesn’t He? I know, even at the sea, that I have to go back. But the respite, the break, is just so good.

Hardship does that. I can recollect some very hard places I’ve been. I look back on those particular swamp-days, and remember. I recount God’s faithfulness, the good that God had planned, all along, back then, when I plodded daily through that particular muck.

Seeing evidences of His hand on our lives, His very real presence right there alongside us in our pain, gives us courage. We gather up our stronger faith and turn to face with redoubled courage the next trial just ahead.

Step back, take a look at your life. Have you changed? How encouraging it is, to stop and to see progress. Go ahead, celebrate your strength, your better decisions, your growth. You learned some good stuff in the hard stuff. Dance!

I do know one thing: He is a good God. He is a faithful Lord. He is worthy of our trust, even in our own Sloughs of Despond.

His presence in the Hard Stuff is real. Him being by our side makes all the difference. He is with us, like He promised He would be.

The posts on this page sometimes include a prayer. After all, He is here, with us–so it only makes sense to talk to Him; to invite Him into our swamps.

I hope that you might find encouragement in whatever Hard Stuff you are facing. God bless.

Hard Stuff Posts

Sunrise over the foothills near Seattle.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Even in our suffering, His presence is our provision. His nearness becomes the shelter to which we run, the only one that sustains us, enabling to keep on enduring whatever He has allowed into our lives. He Himself gently sustains us, even amid dire circumstances.

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